Millionaire Detective: Balance Unlimited: Anime Review

Millionaire Detective: Balance Unlimited is the anime series about a co-protagonist who buy anything except a break for their show. It’s a show that came out the year that officers from Minneapolis Police Department murdered George Floyd, leading to a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests that not only spanned not just the United States, but Japan as well. It’s a show that got postponed for a cour due to production difficulties from COVID-19. Consequently, as a part of that, it’s a series that wrapped up its season just in time for the officers who murdered Breanna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky to not face charges for their actions. And it’s about a co-protagonist who uses their astronomical, Nagi Sanzenin levels of wealth to get away with breaking the law under the auspices of having a badge.

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Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater: Anime Review

I love anime that are somewhat educational about something. While Hajime No Ippo has a very over-the-top depiction of boxing, I felt like I came away from it with a better appreciation of the sport. Shirobako and Animation Runner Kuromi gave me a better appreciation of what goes into anime (though again, both works are romanticized), and so on. So, this past season, I decided to give the anime series Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater a shot for a similar reason, and I’m very glad I did.

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Fruits Basket Season 2 Anime Review

Season 1 of Fruits Basket stopped at about the same place that the previous adaptation of the show had done – after Tohru had seen Kyo’s true form for the first time, and unlike others before had refused to reject him – and had indeed accepted and embraced him (both literally and figuratively) in spite of this, along with Tohru getting to, albeit briefly, meet Akito for the first time. Season 2 enters some new ground (as far as anime adaptations are concerned), diving a little deeper into the inter-relationships between members of the Zodiac, Akito, and the larger Sohma family.

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My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! (HameFura) Anime Review

This past season of anime started with me having about 6-7 different series I was planning to watch… and then COVID-19 hit and with postponements, that number dropped down to two. One of those was Fruits Basket Season 2, which is still ongoing, but the other was a new Isekai series based on a Light Novel, and one with a premise that really caught my interest – My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! (or HameFura for short).

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The Big O: Anime Review

I have some significant gaps in the classics of Toonami. I watched most (though not quite all) of Gundam Wing when it first aired. Same with Outlaw Star, and a fair amount of Dragon Ball Z (at least through the end of the Namek arc). However, I never really watched much of Yu-Yu Hakusho, and I never got around to watching any of The Big O. Maybe it was the title of the show – it certainly wasn’t the aesthetic – the retro-futuristic style grabbed my interest. However, it wasn’t until recently that I finally got the opportunity to watch The Big O in its entirety – and it’s an interesting show to unpack.

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Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Anime Review

After completing Super Robot Wars V a year or so ago, I decided I wanted to watch some of the anime series from that show, particularly before moving on to X (along with wanting to watch a couple of the shows from X as well to set up the story for comparison). That, combined with the fact that I’d been watching various anime series on weekends with my parents, and that my mother had watched the original first season of Space Battleship Yamato while growing up in Hawaii, lead me to bump the reboot of that series up on my list.

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Special 7: Anime Review

The members of Special 7

Special 7 is the last of the big anime series I’d watched in the Fall 2019 season that finished that season – Azur Lane was delayed, Blade of the Immortal, Fate/Grand Order, and My Hero Academia were two-cour series, and I dropped Babylon. It’s an interesting anime series that takes the concept of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and applies it in an urban fantasy context, but doesn’t quite have as much to say.

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We Never Learn Season 2: Anime Review

The main cast of We Never Learn - Yuuki and his romantic interests.

The first season of We Never Learn ended with an announcement for a second season. With the manga being based around college preparation and studying for that, I did definitely have a sense that whether or not the manga was actually done at this point, whatever the second season ended on was going to have some degree of finality – with how the anime was paced, I couldn’t really see a way to wrap here without getting into graduation. Without too many spoilers before the cut, it does get to graduation, and in hindsight, I think the ending kind of works well.

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No Guns Life Season 1: Anime Review

Juzo from "No Guns Life"

It’s kind of been a while since we got a major cyberpunk anime that was outside of the general orbit of Masamune Shirow. Season 2 of SAO, from the description of the arc, was something that I might describe as cyberpunk adjacent – but otherwise, I generally didn’t see much that didn’t have a connection to Shirow or one of the series he created in the listings. So, when No Guns Life came up in the Anime Chart, I figured it was worth checking out.

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My 10 Favorite Anime of the 2010s

Well, we have come to the end of the 2010s, a decade where I actually was much more on top of watching new anime each season – more or less – in part because the rise of streaming made it possible to actually do that in an affordable manner. This past decade also saw me get my Bachelor’s degree, and go to Worldcon for the first time, in a semi-vain attempt to get lit-SF fans to give anime the time of day.

So, I’m going to do a run-down of my favorite Anime of the 2010s that I’ve seen. I will be doing one series per year – and again, this is show’s I’ve seen. Just because a show is not included doesn’t mean that I didn’t watch it or didn’t like it. Additionally, I have a massive List of Shame, so just because a show didn’t make the list doesn’t mean I wasn’t interested.

I’m choosing one show per year, that I watched, and that I generally enjoyed. Each show will have links to where you can watch the series, and affiliate links to where you can buy it – buying anything through those links helps to support the site.

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5 Favorite Anime of 2019

Well, another year come and gone, so it’s time for me to give some thoughts on my favorite shows of 2019 that I’ve seen. The keyword here is that I’ve seen. There are plenty of great shows this year that I missed, whether because they’re sequels to earlier seasons (Symphogear), or they just slipped under my radar, so I’ll need to come back to them later. As with all of my lists, these are in no particular order, so don’t consider a lower spot in the list, nor an absence from the list, as a slight against that work.

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My Hero Academia – Two Heroes: Anime Review

From Left, Iida, Ochako, Midorya, Bakugo, Todoroki - in their hero outfits on I-Island.

When it comes to anime films that tie-in to ongoing shonen series, generally they tend to not be canonicaland basically exist to show a whole bunch of additional cool fights. My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is basically that, except with the nice addition of showing a little bit more of All Might’s backstory, through the introduction of an old friend from his earlier career.

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Anime Review

After this past year’s horrific fire at Kyoto Animation, I found myself looking at all the animated series that Kyoto Animation had done in the past, and found that I had seen so very few of them, and that they were also all on my to-watch list well before the fire. The body of work of the studio was at a level that I’d compare to GAINAX at their prime. So, having read the first volume of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid a couple jobs ago, while I was working in Downtown Portland, I decided to bump that show up on the list. Also, as a part of the weekly anime viewing nights I’d started with my parents after I got my Dad into anime, I decided to add that show to the rotation, sight unseen. The results were favorable, with an asterisk.

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Penguin Highway: Anime Review

At Kumoricon 2019, I had the good fortune of getting into a screening of the anime film Penguin Highway. It is an anime film of a variety that doesn’t come out in the US very much – an anime film that is a straight-up family adventure film, and a film that also plays into some of the Kids on Bikes concepts that came up in a few works I’ve reviewed recently (The Gate and Tales from the Loop).

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What the Hell Are You Doing Here, Teacher?: Anime Review

Key Art banner for season one of "What the Hell Are You Doing Here, Teacher?"

When it comes to concepts related to fanservice in anime, there are some that are very hard to do well. One of them, probably the biggest one of them, is what I call “Sexual Slapstick.” It’s someone walking into a room and seeing someone undressing, or tripping and falling and copping a feel (or seeing something they shouldn’t. They’re all based around acts that are gross, which means it can be hard to make funny. Season one of We Never Learn did it and What the Hell Are You Doing Here, Teacher? also manages to actually pull it off.

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Ultraman Season 1: Anime Review

From Left - Ultra Seven, Ultraman, and Ultraman Ace from Season 1 of Ultraman

This past year or so we had a fair number of anime series paying tribute to classic Tokusatsu series from Tsuburya Productions. The most high profile of these was S.S.S.S. Gridman, with Netflix’s Ultraman Season 1 (adapting the manga) coming out earlier, and flying under the radar. There are a few reasons for that – Gridman had Trigger’s rep going for it, instead of being a totally CG anime series, and was released in English in a more conventional manner instead of the Netflix binge model. As far as how much each of those contributed – well, I can’t get into specifics without delving into Steiner Math (which I flunked in college). That said, the show is still fun, and worth your time.

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Cop Craft: Anime Review

From Left - Tilarna and Kei

With the Summer 2019 anime season, while I enjoyed El Melloi II Case Files, I found it somewhat lacking as a mystery or detective series and had hoped that Cop Craft would make up for that. Cop Craft executes its Urban Fantasy Buddy-Cop story well from a narrative standpoint, but less so from an animation standpoint.

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